Linebacker Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane means no ill will when it comes down to taking down opposing players. But sometimes, he might make them feel like it.
“When he tackles you, it’s like he has a problem with you,” Hallandale coach Dameon Jones said of his team leader, who is committed to Florida State.
“That kid tackles with so much aggression, it’s ridiculous. He tackles everybody like he’s mad or something.
“But, you know, he gets up and walks back to the huddle. It’s nothing personal; that’s just how he is.”
Kilby-Lane, Georgia linebacker commit Juwan Taylor, Syracuse defensive end commit Dana Levine and Pittsburgh defensive back commit Malik Henderson make Hallandale’s defense one of the stoutest units in Broward County and in District 15-6A this season.
The Chargers went 8-2 last season, surging to a 7-0 start behind a fluid offense that averaged 40.8 points and a defense led by current LSU freshman safety John Battle IV.
But Hallandale fell short in its quest to make the playoffs, with losses to district rivals Dillard and Boynton Beach.
“We started off on fire,” Jones said, “and some guys got hurt. And the rest of the season kind of just tumbled because we’re not a big school. Once guys went down, we felt it.”
Hallandale has focused this offseason on creating more depth behind its talented group of players, keeping focus during practices and hoping for a healthier outlook later on this season before facing Dillard on Oct. 18 and Boynton Beach on Oct. 31.
“I wish we played those teams earlier,” Jones said with a laugh. “But we’re respecting everybody in the district and not taking any of those teams lightly.”
With senior running back and UCF commit Taj McGowan, junior quarterback Tyler Huntley going into his third year as a starter and standout junior receiver Neru N’Shaka, Jones said these Chargers are one of the most talented teams he has coached in his six years at the school.
And having Kilby-Lane and McGowan “go after each other” in practice is something Jones said his players have rallied around.
“It’s a friendly competition,” Jones said of his standout players. “Hopefully, those battles push us over the edge this season.”
TEAM TO BEAT
Hallandale. The Chargers’ explosive offense appears to have the defense to back it up this season and make a push for the district title.
Led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, Boynton Beach has one of the most potent offenses in the state and will be Hallandale’s biggest obstacle.
Tally Adams, Stranahan coach. Adams was hired in July after the school released former coach Willie Hill following a 4-6 season. Adams was an assistant coach at Bethune-Cookman the past three seasons.
Hallandale at Dillard, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
•Predicted order of finish:
1. Hallandale; 2. Boynton Beach; 3. Dillard; 4. Coconut Creek; 5. Stranahan; 6. Suncoast.